Find Fall Learning By the Bushel: Seasonal Activities for Kids

Fall_2014

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons. There’s the apple picking (and eating!), the endless recipes made from hearty fall fare like squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, and the satisfying swish, crunch, as you skid along a sidewalk flooded with fallen leaves. But for young children, fall is more than just a beautiful season. Fall is a change in their world as they know it. It is a chance for them to learn in a unique natural environment, about the season itself, but also by incorporating a million other pieces of learning in a way that is new and interesting to them, motivating them to learn and engage more deeply. This time of year there are thousands of suggestions for fall learning and activities out there. I have compiled 5 of the best ideas I could find into each of the learning categories below, so that you and the children in your life can get the most out of the season– and have a blast doing it! As an extra bonus for Wisconsin early educators, I have included the domain in which each activity falls within the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) guidelines. Enjoy!

Fall Arts, Crafts, & Sensory

  • Paint With Spiders: Using materials in a new, creepy, crawly, creative way!
    (WMELS Domains: Health and Physical Development- Sensory Organization & Approaches to Learning- Creativity and Imagination)
    Spider Paint
  • Leaf Lacing: Some fine motor skills work their way into the season.
    (WMELS Domain: Health and Physical Development- Motor Development)
  • Apple Bowling Art: Apples are not just for eating.
    (WMELS Domain: Health and Physical Development- Motor Development)
    Kids bowling
  • Pumpkin Guts Exploration: Let them help prep the pumpkin for carving, or paint it instead, to make this a two-part activity!
    (WMELS Domain: Health and Physical Development- Sensory Organization)
    squishy2 copy
  • Cinnamon and Ginger Cloud Dough: Feels amazing and smells like fall!
    (WMELS Domains: Health and Physical Development- Sensory Organization & Approaches to Learning- Creativity and Imagination)
    hands exploring moon dough cloud dough

The Science of Fall

  • Hopping Corn: Check out this simple, enthralling science activity for kids.
    (WMELS Domain: Cognition and General Knowledge- Scientific Thinking)
    Pouring Vinegar Hopping Corn
  • Pumpkin-Cano: That’s right, this activity is so fun they made up a word for it! 🙂 Try with an apple or a squash too!
    (WMELS Domain: Cognition and General Knowledge- Scientific Thinking)
    pumpkin cano soda bottle
  • Falling Leaf Art and Science: This combines a few learning skills into one activity. And most of the materials can be found with a quick trip outdoors! Take a walk with your children beforehand to find your materials.
    (WMELS Domains: Cognition and General Knowledge- Scientific Thinking & Approaches to Learning- Creativity and Imagination)
    Shake-Fall Leaf Art and Science Activity
  • Experiment: Why Do Leaves Change Color?: This one is pretty interesting, though the complexity of it is probably more for slightly older children from 7 and up.
    (WMELS Domain: Cognition and General Knowledge- Scientific Thinking)
    why do leaves change color in the fall
  • Exploring the Seeds of Fall: Sometimes the most successful scientific experiment you can do with kids is to hand them the materials, the tools, and the space to explore, and watch them go!
    (WMELS Domains: Cognition and General Knowledge- Scientific Thinking & Cognition and General Knowledge- Exploration, Discovery, and Problem Solving)

Fall Math

  • Fall Acorn Activities: Math with outdoor fall materials.
    (WMELS Domains: Cognition and General Learning- Mathematical Thinking & Cognition and General Knowledge- Exploration, Discovery, and Problem Solving)
    Acorn Fine Motor Fall Activity Sensory Transfer Tweezers Counting
  • Leaf Picking, Numbers Sorting, & Counting: These slight variations on one another combine fall sensory materials with math!
    (WMELS Domains: Cognition and General Learning- Mathematical Thinking & Health and Physical Development- Sensory Organization)
    counting
  • Pumpkin Geoboard: Let them make shapes, designs, connect the “dots” as they count them– be creative! Use something like golf tees to stick in the pumpkin with younger children that you don’t want to use thumb tacks around, and you can use yarn in place of rubber bands.
    (WMELS Domains: Cognition and General Learning- Mathematical Thinking & Health and Physical Development- Sensory Organization)
    Hands-On Pumpkin Math - The Geo Pumpkin!
  • Fall Leaf Number Movement Game: This not only practices counting in a fun way, it gets a little movement into the day as well.
    (WMELS Domains: Cognition and General Learning- Mathematical Thinking & Health and Physical Development- Motor Development)
  • Autumn Estimating Jars: There is so much you can do with just a jar full of autumn materials.
    (WMELS Domains: Cognition and General Learning- Mathematical Thinking & Cognition and General Knowledge- Exploration, Discovery, and Problem Solving)Autumn

Reading Into Fall

(All of these fall into the WMELS Domain: Language Development and Communication, within all three sub-domains)

 Fall Outdoor Action

  • Autumn Apple Cider Picnic: Not a fan of cider? No problem! Make an autumn lunch, dinner, or even breakfast that everyone will enjoy then pick the perfect outdoors picnic spot to eat and watch autumn happen!
    (WMELS Domain: Health and Physical Development- Motor Development)
    {Autumn Apple Cider Picnic}
  • Fun Autumn Treasure Hunt: You can make your own treasure hunt list and even add pictures of what to look for to help out younger children.
    (WMELS Domain: Health and Physical Development- Motor Development Cognition and General Knowledge- Exploration, Discovery, and Problem Solving)
  • Make a Scarecrow: You don’t need a garden to put him in! He will make a great outdoor fall decoration.
    (WMELS Domains: Approaches to Learning- Creativity and Imagination & Health and Physical Development- Motor Development)
  • Pumpkin Ring Toss: Who knew that canning rings could be so much fun?
    (WMELS Domain: Health and Physical Development- Motor Development)
  • Take a Swim in Leaves: And do it in a way that means you don’t have to rake them up over and over!
    (WMELS Domain: Health and Physical Development- Sensory Organization)
    Swimming in Leaves

Fall Cooking With Kids- I added this one because cooking with your children teaches a multitude of things– such as math through measuring and timing, the sensory experience and scientific interaction of the ingredients, good nutrition, reading the words of the recipe; not to mention it is a great way to encourage family or classroom engagement. That means that all of these cooking activities, as well as any other healthy cooking with your children could fall into any and likely all of these:
(WMELS Domains: Health and Physical Development- Sensory Organization, Health and Physical Development- Motor Development, Cognition and General Learning- Mathematical Thinking, Cognition and General Knowledge- Exploration, Discovery, and Problem Solving, Cognition and General Knowledge- Scientific Thinking, Language Development and Communication)

Happy Fall, and Happy Learning!

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